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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I cronical my continuing efforts on my shelf layout I starting building over 23 years ago. I had grand ambitious plans as I finally had a finished basement to fix up and showcase a shelf railroad that friends and family would love to visit.
This is my 3rd engineered road with childhood experiences from serious modelers. I did the loop, and point to point in homosote and cork. I was a member of a modular club and learned all I could about DCC. If you ever want to learn DCC or modular design, joining a club and learning how to's from a lot of educated afficinato's is the way to go.
In those early days, being transient, I was relaglated to "N' scale and grew to dispise the micro-issues the scale presents. So this 3rd layout...is working to.....fulfill the dream!

The plan was to have a BIG yard to park a vast collection of rolling stock and Engines and a loop or duel main that could transit separate zones and climites based on my favorite railroad, namely the Santa Fe. I wanted at least 2 trains to be able to roll without much guidance while I could manage switching in a yard and making consists. I'd switch out consists on the main and drop off deliveries off the main while avoiding the 2 trains rolling on the main.
That takes a lot of track and basement space so the shelf layout was the ticket.

The Design....


Font Line Parallel Pattern Watercraft


I spent two years building the shelf, cutting out track bed, homosote, laying track, wiring in the DCC wiring, hardwiring locomotives from DC to DCC, and finally running trains. I had even tried to run a overhead main track high in the ceiling around the drop ceiling...it was enough to "burnout".
Building Sky Shade Automotive exterior Gas


But there was so much more to do! I had very little buildings, no lighting, very little scenery.
So I kept plugging away...and life happened and I had to rethink everything as I feared I would have to tear it all down and move. So I abandoned my overhead line with a helix to connect the shelve unit and I shortened the mainline in order to be able to move it all. And then it sat, waiting to see if I would have to move it or not.

10 years later and it looks as if time passed me by and now I see myself retired and needing a winter hobby.
How about a railroad...I so wish I still had that drive I had in my youth, time has taken it toll on me too. I am in my 60's, FYI.
But I am trying to do more and more.
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I found some sweet deals on used buildings at the train show and am making them "mini diaramas" to plug and place on the layout all ready to go with people, furnishing, LED lighting and the such.
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Today, I get excited with nano LED tech and am working between the building diaoramas and the streets that define the spaces the diaramas plug into. I purchased nano street lights and building nano leds....
Twig Creative arts Art Font Fashion accessory


Engineering street scenes to work with a "popout panel" for loop access....
World Urban design City Landscape Wood


Mounting street lighting...so exciting!
Vehicle Wood Motor vehicle Electrical wiring Gas


I had a dedicated hi amperage 24vdc power supply for use on the layout and I am going to use it for all the lighting, adding several circuits of different adjustable voltages to mimic different brightness of street lights, home lights, store and sign lighting....a very ambicious lighting project.
Circuit component Motor vehicle Passive circuit component Urban design Electronic engineering


And a glut of used recycled builtings to embellish and make into mini diaoramas. Placing then to see how they may fit in the town area around the bottom of the loop....
Train Toy Urban design Track Engineering


And a general view of the "L" shaped layout...
Toy Urban design Wood Engineering Landscape


This top loop is a module that can move and disconnect to the shelf layout in order to gain access to a storage area door....
Train Toy Motor vehicle Urban design Vehicle



More to come soon.
I am wanting to start my own thread about my layout to document future progress and appologize in advance to those viewers looking for progress during the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall months as this is mostly a winter hobby for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
.....did you have any steamers that you converted to DCC, I do not think that this will be an easy undertaking if I choose to go DCC.
I've seen bigboy steamers in N scale that are fitted with DCC and sound, so it is possible. The trick is the tender is a big empty box. Empty enough to put a DCC module into it.

This past week, while working on a building diaorama, it tryed my best to make a few outdoor vending machines for the gas station I am working on. Again I am trying to incorporate every detail into the diaorama so if something breaks, I can unplug it and remove it from the layout without trying to fix it where it stands. IMO, you end up damaging other parts of the layout like strung telephone poles, neighboring trees, signs, etc.
The printable photo paper was a mistake as the design peeled off the paper as I was handling it so next time I will use card stock. But I did manage to make a few....
Rectangle Fixture Font Home appliance Carbonated soft drinks

I am really trying to detail the gas station with as much stuff as I can . The island has nano LEDS as does the signs and station permeter. Below, I cut out minature blocks and pushed toothpicks into them and painted them black, stuck them into a clay base to allow to dry. Some are also sign bases. Then cut out the paper vending machines and wrap them around the painted blocks, remove the toothpicks and place in the scene....
Motor vehicle Table Automotive design Automotive tire Gas


I also plan to do "Ice" machines...it's going to be a busy gas station....
Rectangle Font Material property Parallel Auto part

Feel free to copy and save the images. depending what you to to print them you can scale the up or down depending on your layout scale.
I am also working on a restarunt now too, trying to detail the interior including adding flooring, tables people and lighting. Since the building has a pitched roof, I can use cheap normal sized LED's to light the interior. A work in progress....
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I really have to stop soon and regroup by cleaning up my hobby bench.
It's just a mess!!.... a modelers work is never done.
Table Desk Engineering City Machine
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Today I got the bench cleaned up enough to mess it up again, isn't that always the case?!?!
Here's a pick of the coke machine I am not too happy with because the ink is flaking off of the photopaper.
I will try to reprint it with card stock but you get the idea....
Urban design Lego Gas Engineering Building sets


The gas station needs a lot of work still, mostly detail painting, I know.

I also finished the diner lighting, just have to print out some people at tables and install them and then I can finish the gas station.
Gas Facade Event Electric blue Light fixture


Progress...no matter how small, it's something!
Automotive lighting Rectangle Wood Flash photography Gadget
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
....maybe it's just me but the Coke machine looks a bit big.
Might try scaling it down a bit. ❔
Good eye, I caught after the fact whe n I put it up to the building, I will be remaking it, a bit smaller....thanks.
BTW they do sell lighted coke or Pepsi machines I know I just bought a cpl of the Pepsi ones.
OOOOO...I would love a link to a lighted Pepsi machine!!! I did find a slew of vending machines on E-bay here.
You all sure know how to spend my money!!!! I think the lighted machines are awesome....I will definately buy a few.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
....maybe it's just me but the Coke machine looks a bit big.
Might try scaling it down a bit. ❔
Good eye, I caught after the fact whe n I put it up to the building, I will be remaking it, a bit smaller....thanks.
BTW they do sell lighted coke or Pepsi machines I know I just bought a cpl of the Pepsi ones.
OOOOO...I would love a link to a lighted Pepsi machine!!! I did find a slew of vending machines on E-bay here.
You all sure know how to spend my money
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, this frugal one is going to give the home made coke machine another try...working on that and a few other machines and signs tonight....
Rectangle Tablecloth Wood Flooring Creative arts


The last machines I made were a bit too big so these are a 1/2 inch smaller,
I printed them on card stock instead of photo paper so the image will not flake off the paper.
The card stock is beefy too so the road signs will last a while.
Those lighted scale machines we chatted about above are nice but my money could be better spend during these inflationary times. Trying to use what I currently have. Maybe in the future, a upgrade will be prudent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well working on my 2nd attempt at a smaller coke machine, I needed my scroll saw to cut down a block I could wrap the paper printout around, but my Craftsman scroll saw was in the garage.
I had my tailgate table already in the work area oppisite my craft bench so I moved over my mini paint booth and table sander to make room....
Wall Gas Table Machine Office equipment


On a side note.....
Under the table I have a very special train gifted from Grandma...it went under the tree for at least 10 years, in the 1950's, before I was born. I got it back in 2000.
Automotive tail & brake light Vehicle registration plate Automotive lighting Automotive tire Grille


I put it all together about 10 years ago and it ran and also chugged smoke as oil was still in the chimney!
This is a complete train set with buildings and in pretty good condition considering it is close to 70 years old!!!
As you see, I still have some boxes from the era.
After testing all of it, I took it apart and bubble wrapped it all up to preserve it.
Wood Shipping box Brick Box Event


The loco has cloth wiring so I am thinking of taking it to a hobby shop in the area that has a train hospital...they rework old Locomotives...or I may just leave it alone. It need to be evaluated and valued by a professional.
Dress Embellishment Sleeve Pink Ingredient


A future thread on the train to come but it looks like I will be making a mini layout for it under the tree this Christmas.
Stay tuned for that story.
Getting back to my current HO layout.....
I have my soda machine drying...working on a bagged ice freezer and a coffee and candy bar machine.
Sizing to the right scale has been trial and error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am using MS Paint and yes I am using the MS Paint ruler to measure when resizing, good suggestion BTW.:)
So yesterday, I found I measured based on a different building and found the my Exxon gas station is smaller is stature than other buildings in my layout!
Check out the below pictures of my first coke machine and my second machine looks like I got the new size right.....
Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Gas Wood Machine


BTW, the macro lens really show the fault of the pixel print but from a foot away, it okay in my eye.
Now when I put it up to a different building, well the larger one looks to size!
Building Asphalt Road surface Gas Art


So I tried a building with people....
Property Building Window Door Toy


and it seems evident that the gas station is a bit undersized....here if I keep the gas station in the fore ground and the restarunt in the background, they look close to the same size....
Table Wood Engineering Gas Electrical wiring


The size differences isn't that noticable until you start making accessories for the display!
BIG SIGH! So that's what I am dealing with ...I will be making 2 sizes of accesories for the layout to keep the aspect ratio equal depending on the building. The gas station will be in close to the viewer and need a lot of paint work and finishing. I already painted yellow on most of the curbing, added flat black to the roof and started painting labels on can in the oil can displays...no pictures of that yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good point about the gas station. This model was one of 10 buildings I picked off a train show table for $30, already built and used and abused, why am I trying so hard to make it work?
I suppose I already have invested some time to light it, painted the inside so light didn't bleed through the plastic, and I do have a prominant place on the layout where it fits logically at an intersection.
But I did make the base to fit that place so putting a different gas station on that footprint could work!
Starting over "is a option!"
Hmmmm, you sure got me thinking...now I have to find a scale correct and affordable gas station to be able to chuck all I did to get this far.
Thanks for your thoughts Magic, got to keep a open mind ....with an eye on the budget especially when everyone here on the forum, loves to spend my money! 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Well, I scrubbed working on the not to scale gas station and turned my attention to buildings and scenery behind the space the gas station and other building are going. I am looking for a better gas station in the mean time.
So first thing is to start putting in street lights.
Here are those authentic looking lights, I think they are nifty!
Motor vehicle Watercraft Urban design Naval architecture Engineering


But the nano wires for the Nano LED streetlights are too small for the push in terminals I want to use. These Wago 6 wire terminals I found at Menards pretty inexpensive, Besides soidlering the resistor on all of the nano wires, I also made leads in a larger wire gauge to fit in the Wago connectors nicely, and used liquid tape on the exposed wire.
Electrical wiring Audio equipment Cable Gas Plant



My favorite cement secured them into place once I drilled a big enouth hole through the base...
Road surface Asphalt Line Sidewalk Gas


Spend a good amount of time under the layout wiring up my dedicated super home made power supply to all the street lights and homes. I found the home closest to the camera didn't get my anti-bleed treatment as it was prebuilt at the factory for a christmas village. So I have to tear into it soon. Turned on the TV (Mecum auction I think?) to get a contrast to the illuminated layout area....
Car Vehicle Tire Wheel Automotive design


I have a window behind the TV (hoping to get a small TV in this area soon). I might block that out. But those Nano lights are really sweet. Love the authentic shadows between the lights

Building Window Urban design House Road surface


Just so much still to do ...striping the road is next then the other side of the street gets lighted buildings. AND, fix that light bleeding home! UG!!!! I usually use colored cardstock to line the interior walls. Some progress before I have to go make dinner. sigh
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
No, but I like the way you think. (Ha..."cool beans"... *giggle*)
I should have, I just winged it but now I want to check on how close I came to the actual measurements.
According to the town near me, the poles should be 15 feet high with standard spacing of 300 feet between the poles.
So, according to Woodland Scenics Scaler, 15' = 2.069 inches tall and 300' = 41.379 inches between the poles.
Wow, I realized 41inches it pretty far and wouldn't look scale or provide enough light.
2 inch tall is close to hitting a box truck roof on a scale truck and if I use not to scale matchboxes...forgetaboutit.
Wheel Tire Vehicle Plant Wood

According to my measurements, my poles are 2.675" tall and spaced an average of 9" between the poles.
World Product Liquid Building Toy


I guess eyeing it to scale makes me happier that actual life standards.
I found if I made them all 10 inches apart, some poles would have ended up in driveways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I had to find a daytime picture of it....Nice looking kit, that's for sure!




Curious what the drum is made of...plastic so you can illuminate the whole top? Looks like a $40 kit.
I am a little squimish about exact scale as the last cheapo station was small. I might have to visually see one in person....IDK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I am really working towards the left of the town from center.
This town is on the middle of my "L" shaped layout....
Font Slope Parallel Circle Urban design

I am thinking of calling the town Hatchville, as the town is on a access hatch to the back of a corner of the layout.
Here is a picture of the hatch and I am starting to "plot" the layout on the top of the hatch.
Where should buildings go??? .....can I put in a alley? .....what buildings work, what dosen't....
Toy Wood Art Table Motor vehicle


Nothing is set in stone until I add building lighting. All the lighting for the hatch will be on a quick disconnect plug.
This is the back of the layout and not as visible. Some of my least like buildings might fill this area.
Automotive design Urban design Wood Engineering Toy


Here is the access hole in the layout ....
Train Rolling stock Toy Urban design Vehicle


And with the hatch top covering the access hole.....
Toy Urban design Building Engineering Motor vehicle


And "late Night" in town seems to be as busy as the daytime!!!! I can't wait to illuminate the Santa Fe sign on the roof of the fire house and add street lights to the left of the picture along route 66.....
Motor vehicle Vehicle Car Building Truck

The garage and restaraunt are lighted and set where they stand.
Progress.....working on Hatchville? Accesstown? Hmmm?? I need a Route 66 small town name between Chicago and St. Louis along which route 66 travels through....I have to give it some thought...
A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!............
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
Back to more "Access Hatch" work as I have it removed.
The hatch is a major part of the town. I moved it to the bench so I can add lighting to the fire station (brown brick with Santa Fe sign) and to finalize the layout for buildings in the back of the firehouse and Candy's restarunt. I decided to use these cheapo flea market (five HO buildings for $20) finds, 2 stores and the Motel, and place them in the back behind the firehouse. I added an alley and wired LED lights into pockets, I make out of Basswood, in the buildings.
Here is the final spots as buildings are hot glued to the styrafoam base and set in stone...
Shipping box Wood Office equipment Engineering Table


Another view from the backside of the hatch.....


I hot glued a frame on the underside of the hatch to give the styrafoam some added support and wired in the quick connect connector. It is really solid but light, even with all the plastic buildings on top. Tongue depressors are a slick find..."Say Ahhhhhhh!"
Tire Wood Automotive tire Wheel Gas


The area in back of the Motel needed a better corner spot than the small garage I was planning to install.....
Building Wood Urban design Roof Machine


So I decided to break out another Train show flea market find I got for $12....
Public space Art Technology Publication Box


These two buildings will fill in the empty lot nicely but won't be very prominent as the fire station blocks some of its views. But you can see them when operating in the railyard so I feel the corner needs more city like buildings.
So I starting building the structures today....
Product Urban design Motor vehicle Flooring Art


I added a basswood floor and walls to selectively illuminated different windows and spaces....
Shipping box Wood Carton Flooring Box


I am actually using hot glue to cement the wood to the plastic and wood to wood....
Wood Flooring Floor Gas Machine


Adding lighting and curtains. I will do a light bleed test to the dark brick plastic before I paint or coat the interior with cardstock.
Wood Shipping box Flooring Gas Hardwood


Then I tested the LEDs and placed the roof without glue. The paper graphics are really cheapo, glad I only paid $12 for the kit. These train shows are really saving me a money and time on my town. And from the front....
Motor vehicle Gas Road surface City Asphalt

Working on painting the chimneys, wood stairs, fake lights, fire hydrant, and stair railings. Who molds green chimneys? Heljan does! UG!
Circuit component Wood Engineering Passive circuit component Gas

So as I am watching paint dry (wanna watch with me?) I still have the second building in the kit to build and wire the same way as I did this one. But I actually called it a day as I have other things to do....tomarrow is another day.
A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!............
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
All classic structures, presented in full nostalgic glory. Normally these things get modified (that general store looks suspiciously like a house I did)… But seeing them all in their “box cover form” is a warm tickle. It’s nice to see for a change.
One of these days I’ll post photos of what I did to that pool. It’s barely recognizable.

The pockets you mentioned you make… is that different from the floors & walls inside structures?
Thanks I lhad to laugh at the term warm tickle...so true. Can't wait to see your pool.
No, the pockets are room I made from floors and walls...made many in the firehouse. I like to see lights in one window and dark in the next...adds realism as long as light doesn't bleed through the plastic walls...that a deal breaker for me in the realism rhelm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
.....Do you have time to run trains from time to time?
That is a great question! And something I should address here on my build thread.
I am not running trains for the time being, I have a lot to do before that can happen. First, it has been 12 years since I ran a DCC locomotive, I total track cleaning, and car/locomotive cleaning needs to be done. I did checkout the NCE pro, the power supply and all wiring is working as installed way back then.
Rectangle Electrical wiring Electricity Wood Electrical supply
Wood Gas Wood stain Denim Communication Device

I got all my DCC locomotives rolling on the main, just to test them out.
I might have to upgrade the chip for todays decoders...most likely... sigh
I purchased the system in 2006, according to my reciept....
Font Material property Publication Paper Handwriting

Out of the 15 locomotives, 9 still need to be changed out to DCC as I currently have 5 decoders (bought in 2022)to be installed. I also recieved about 100 train cars from various people as gifts to be used as I want.
I have not gone through them all and cleaned, oiled, and graded them, replaced coupliers to Kaydee and wheels to metal as I will not run plastic wheels on the layout.
So a lot of re-affiramation and cleaning will have to be done to start rolling again...a full day, possibly two if issues are found. I am happy to see my dehumidifer has kept the enviroment stable and I don't see any shifting issues. The homasote base is awesome.
I realized just one of the "many reasons" the Santa Fe Big 'L' line was abondoned in 2010 was that I was burn't out with 5 years of engineering the design, building the track and intregrating the DCC into the mix.
With all that needs to be done, I figured switching gears into scenery will "eventually" motivate me to start the process of getting the track and rolling stock into tip top shape.
Just getting back into a Train forum is helping me to move along what has been a hobby waiting on retirement.
Well, here I am, retired and excited again about the scenery and the layout.
The future forcast looks to be more down time as the weather breaks to above 60F tempatures in the region and some of my summer hobbies take presidence, this fowl weather friend will just have to keep on waiting.
Thanks for the question Mannix!
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Another day, "WORKING ON THE RAILROAD!"
But first, I ran to Hobby Lobby to pickup some supplies to resupply stock.
Found that you can get generic moss cheaper than the packaged train scenery stuff....
Grass Plastic bottle Plant Retail Groundcover


The score from the Hobby Lobby store....
Plant Leaf vegetable Vegetable Drink Ingredient


Letters, figurines, razor blades, gray paint, and moss.
The package of people was a suprise, for $11 I get double the amount of people I usually get from a train accessory manifacture.
As far as the letters, I have been using them to make facia sign to allow the viewer to associate an area on the layout on a actually town or city in the U.S.A. ...
Wood Font Rectangle Hardwood Wafer


Back to the layout as I continue to strive to finish the hatch cover I have been working on since I finished the gas station. Paint had dried on the parts tree and I worked on getting the second building in the kit assemblied and lighted...
Motor vehicle Shipping box Wood Publication Art


Got the second building wired up and tested good.
I mounted both buildings on the hatch cover and started detailing the hatch itself...
Building Toy Window House Urban design



A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!............
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
More work on the layout as the weather outside for the past week and forseeable future is cold and rainy, the stuff the flu was made of. Because of the weather, I am digging my progress on the layout. I am getting a lot of scenery done.
So much so I was running out of trees and had to go through a shoebox top of very old N scale trees that were mixed together with moss, field grass, pine trees, tree turf, and hot glue pettets...UG!
Plant Green Rectangle Urban design Wood


But, I sorted and sifted as much as I dare save and reconstituted all the trees to like new.
I then started laying grass, the rest of the trees and tried to pretty much finish the very back of the layout.
I then wired up LED lighting in two already assembled flea market find buildings, laid gravel in the industrail area of the town, and set up street lights and telephone poles...got so busy I didn't take any photo's of the stuff in progress.
I suppose it is the whole finished detailed town.... will be my final satisfaction.
...More pictures soon.
I am also thinking about the "Ten Proverbial Questions!"
If you ever been on a layout crawl, you may have gotten a piece of paper with ten thing to find on the layout.
A further explaination is found when you click on the above link....
A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!......
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I worked thru the evening yesterday and only had 2 hickups so I consider this look pretty much detailed and done.
Having said that, I am sure I will add more detail like more people, vehicles, and wires on the electric poles.
Can you spot the hickups while I tease you with night time pictures? BTW, working on removing the 60" Sony television for a 40" that will expose more of the back of the layout.
Building Urban design City Landscape Event


Car Building Vehicle World Toy


The two Hick ups I had are in this picture....
World Building Urban design Window Neighbourhood

Gosh you are good, you saw that the EAT sign is not illuminated. I have to pop the roof and check what happened....
Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Window Public space City


And you're right, the missing decorative fake sidewalk light on the end poped off the hatch trying to replace it on the layout. I also need a little filler piece on the easement of mainstreet at the firehouse driveway and the restaraunt parking lot....
World Building Urban design Window Neighbourhood


Here is a view of the buildings I was working on yesterday to illuminate, the construction company and the warehouse...
Computer Gas Engineering Machine Event


The hotel, fruit store, and general store ended up on the street I call route 66....
Building Urban design City Landscape Leisure


Wish I could take pictures without the blur.....
Building Automotive lighting Window Architecture Public space


On to fixing the hickups, swapping out televisions, and moving on to scenery to the right of this area.

A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!...
 
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